I’m really excited because we have another guest today, and Shannan Monson is here to talk to us about passive income, which I’m really excited about. Shannan believes that we should be able to work on our own terms, and work the hours we want to. Especially as women, you know we just have a disadvantage. Luckily, the internet is just really leveling the playing field of what we can accomplish, and what we can do in our careers.
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Jess: So I would love for you to kind of introduce yourself, tell us about your business, and why you are so passionate about passive income.
Shannan Monson: Sure. I’m Shannan Monson, a registered dietician, I started my career actually as a personal trainer and then became a registered dietician, so I’ve been in health and wellness industry for a very long time. I had a very short-lived career as a college athlete, and just fell in love with health and wellness, and found out you could actually get paid to do that, and I was like, “That’s what I want to do.” So I did personal training and nutrition coaching in gym settings for a very long time, probably five or six years. And just got burnt out really quickly, if any of you have worked in similar setting you know that it seems appealing with sales commissions and things like that, but at the end of the day, I mean there were years I brought home $10, $12, $15 dollars an hour, after you put in all the admin time and everything. Which I was fine with for a while, after I had kids it was just completely unsustainable, and I realized I needed to figure out a way to work and feed my family, and also be able to provide enough for childcare, or kind of get creative.
Shannan: So that’s when I started to get really passionate, I found out that people were making money on the internet, which is so funny to laugh about now, it makes me feel old to say that. Instagram was new-ish, and the term influencer wasn’t even around, and I was like, “Man, whatever they’re doing, I want on that.” Began working from home, it’s a lot harder than it looks turned out, but I really just dived into things and started selling meal plans on Instagram, and had a lot of success with that. And thought, wow, this is something that could just change my life, I could do this from home, I can do it around my kid’s nap schedules, at the time, and it really just grown from there.
So I became super passionate about passive income because of the freedom that it gave me in my life.
I didn’t have to go into smelly gyms anymore, I could set my own hours, it’s still a lot of work but the payout was so much higher, it’s on my own terms. And since I’ve turned around and I’ve created multiple six-figure businesses with passive income products, multiple six-figure businesses, and turned around to consult and help other people do this. Because I believe that this is something that’s just so accessible to all of us, if you have a smartphone and free wifi the opportunities in front of you are just completely limitless.
Shannan Monson: And I believe that we should be able to work on our own terms, and work the hours we want to. Especially as women, you know we just have a disadvantage, I’ll be perfectly honest, the internet is just really leveling the playing field of what we can accomplish, and what we can do in our careers. So that’s why I love passive income.
Jess: Yes, well anything to avoid the smelly gyms. I loved how you were like, “I got to stay out of the gym,” I’m like yes, yes please. So, I love that, I mean it’s just a really great intro into starting to create passive income. I know there might be some people listening who are like, “Yeah, but what about me? I’ve only been in business for X amount of time,” or like, “Well I do this really niche thing,” is passive income for anybody? Are there any limitations people should consider?
Shannan: Yeah, I believe that anybody can create passive income. I will say I do believe that you need to become very expert and very skilled at what you do. So I always recommend, you know, if you’re just starting out in your business to really focus on one-on-one or more personalized work, because that’s what helps you to really, deeply, truly understand your ideal customer. And if you can know one person, you know their deepest, darkest fears, their biggest hopes and dreams, like the back of your hand, then you can create something that is so perfect for that person, and also so perfect for thousands more.
Shannan: So that’s what we’re doing with passive income. We’re not creating one and done, one size fits all programs that work for everybody, we’re creating one thing that works really perfectly for one specific kind of person, and there’s billions of people in the world, so if there’s one specific person that’s going to serve and serve really well, then there’s at least a thousand people, right, that’s it’s going to help.
Shannan: And you start thinking on those terms, you know, if I sell a thousand people a $100 product, that’s $10,000 in passive income, that’s not unrealistic to say that there’s 1,000 people in the whole world in your specific niche. So I’m actually really a big fan of niching down, I do believe passive income can work for anybody, I think you need to be really self aware of where you’re at in your business, and if you’re just getting started you need to really, deeply, truly understand your ideal customer, and know that the better you get at serving them one on one the more prepared you’ll be to create really knockout passive income products.
Jess: Yes. So I know that, I mean you kind of touched on this, the first step in creating passive income is that research phase. So can you talk to us a little bit about how we go about doing this, what questions to ask, how many people should we talk to? That kind of stuff.
Shannan Monson: Yeah, so the people that I’ve worked with that have had the most success are the ones that really nail down a product for one specific person. So I’m going to give you some examples so this makes a little bit more sense. So one of my past clients who just really killed it, Megan, she’s also a dietician of nutrition [addiction 00:05:42], she came to me and she had this one on one program that she was like, “Shannon, this is life-changing, all of my clients are having incredible results, they’ve tried all the different brands, nothing worked, this works, you don’t have to count calories, they don’t have to count macros, they’re getting just amazing results, they’re doing it on vacation. This is amazing.”
Shannan: And she’d done it on so many clients in a one on one setting, but that was her research. So she already knew, because she’d proven it. [inaudible 00:06:10] research, and note-taking, and asking questions. I do research while I’m running the business, so she was getting paid to do that research, she was getting paid to work with those clients one on one. And because she had just a wealth of knowledge from everything that people had said to her in a one on one sessions, she took that, that was her research, she turned it into what is called the Metabolism Makeover Program, which, if you haven’t heard of, it’s absolutely incredible. And she just completely kills it, I think in January she did over $20,000 in passive revenue. [crosstalk 00:06:38]
Shannan Monson: With this one program, and that was, you know, 12, 14 months after she started creating it. So that’s one example of the research process. One of my other students that I worked with, she is a food photographer from a bakery, Sarah Fennel. And I actually met her, I went to her in-person photography retreat. So she hosted this in-person retreat in Michigan for fourteen up and coming food photographers, and I went to the retreat, and I said, “This is amazing, this is really good product, you should record this, you should turn it into an online course and sell it to more people.” So that was the research process, and she had sold out retreats with waiting lists of people that were asking, “How can I take this to a bigger scale?”
I think sometimes we think so big picture, we want this massive best-selling, best of the best, number one course, or program, or download, or meal plan, or whatever it is, that we don’t start with the steps that it takes to get there.
So when I think of the research process I truly think of who are the clients that you’re working with right now? What problems do they have that are universal to people like that? Maybe not universal to everybody, but universal to them. And just really taking really … fastidious, is that the right word?
Jess: It is.
Shannan Monson: Takes notes about this kind of person, and what pains they’re struggling with, what’s the problem, how does it make them feel? What’s your specific method/solution that helps them to get a results, what are the results they get? What does that mean to the rest of their life? And that’s the research process. And when you figure out that person, and how you can solve that problem, then you can start taking steps toward turning it into a passive income product.
Jess: Yes. And now, so you’ve talked about, you’ve mentioned a few different ways that people have created passive income with your clients, and yourself, and I know there are a lot of variations, whether it’s eBooks, or courses, or membership sites, whatever, so how do we decide which one? I mean is it just flip a coin, whichever one sounds fun? Is that part of the research? Talk to us about that.
Shannan: Yeah, so I always recommend the first time we do this we do it with a … you’re running a move toward passive incomes, so we recommend doing a pre-sale process. So you’re actually going to just go ahead and put it out that I have this incredible program, I’ve been doing it with all my one on one clients, it’s going to be game-changing, and I’m doing it with a Beta tester group, so for $99, or $149 you can join me for four weeks of live coaching undertaking this process.
Shannan Monson: So the first time I actually recommend you don’t do it pre-recorded, or an ebook, you just do it in a live setting. Because that gives you an opportunity to figure out, what are the questions that scale, right? You know what it’s like doing somebody, with one person, what’s it like doing it with ten? What are the things that are going to come up, what is going to be the best method of delivery? Is this the kind of thing that people will need ongoing support, and membership is the best option? Or is sort of thing that they really need video tutorials, so a membership site is going to be better? Or is it something that, you know what, they’re really busy, and they just want a done for you ebook that they can just have on their desk, physical book or ebook, and flip through when they need it? So I think that the delivery is actually dictated by the buyers. You go ahead and create a first round of buyers, and then use that process to kind of figure out how is the best way to deliver this?
Shannan: So there’s three different questions that I always ask myself when I’m thinking about actually creating the delivery method for your offering … I’m doing all these air quotes that people can’t see, you can’t see.
Jess: Shannan Monson is using air quotes, everybody! Haha!
Shannan: Quote/unquote “delivery method”, right? So your solution is going to be the same, but whether it is delivered as and ebook, or an online course, or a membership site, or another offering, another delivery method.
Shannan Monson: Okay, so the questions that I ask: question number one, is this financially profitable? You might have a great idea for a membership site at $5 a month, but you’ve got 3,000 followers, there’s just no way that you’d sell 300 of those a month. Let’s say you sell 100 a month, which would be insane with only 3,000 followers, that’s $500 a month. The amount of effort and energy that you put into that is just not worth it. So maybe it should be a membership site down the road, when you have 100,000 followers, but right now a membership is not the best delivery method, because it’s not financially profitable. Okay. So number one, is it financially profitable?
Shannan: Number two: is it emotionally sustainable? So is this something that, the amount of work that you’re going to have to do outside of money, and the way that you’re going to have to do it is something that you can sustain. So a lot of my clients come to me and say, “You know, I’m just so burnt out with one-on-one coaching, I cannot keep doing all of this therapy for these clients,” and if that’s the case then you shouldn’t be turning it into a model that has a bunch of live coaching.
Shannan: You need to be paying attention to, is this something that is emotionally sustainable for me? So is it financially profitable, is emotionally sustainable, and number three: is it scalable? So you might have a fantastic idea for a really niche product, you know, you want to do … I don’t know, because all the niches I’m thinking of actually are great ideas, but super, super specific and you think it will kill it, but the market just isn’t big enough, there aren’t enough people that would actually want it.
Shannan: Or maybe you have an idea … one of my clients I’m working with right now, she has check-ins as part of her program, and it’s been great for the first year, to really get going off the ground, but it’s not scalable. So you need to figure out, how can we actually bring somebody else in to do this part, we’ll take this part out of the program.
Shannan Monson: Sometimes we get all these ideas, but if they’re not things that would work at scale … say you’re selling 10,000 units, a lot of times we think, “Man that’s crazy, that’ll never happen to me,” but I promise you, I work with entrepreneurs every day that say, “Shannon, you said this would happen and I didn’t believe you, but I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t continue doing this, there’s just too many people.” I have a client who does quizzes at the end of her modules, and she’s got somebody hand grading them, she’s like, “We can’t keep up with this, so we need to figure out a way to make this scalable.” So is it financially profitable, is is emotionally sustainable, and is it scalable, are the three big questions I’m asking when I’m looking at what’s the best delivery method.
Jess: I love it. Yeah, no, that’s really, really good information to consider. And I mean, I have said before, when people just start offering services in general, and they’re like, “Well I don’t even know how to package what I do,” I’m like, “Well do you like talking to people on the phone?”
Jess: Or Zoom, or Skype, whatever. Because if you don’t then don’t go into coaching or whatever. So I think it’s good to kind of also take that into consideration, with the passive income. Now you’ve also mentioned a little bit about the market and your niche, and whatever, but what do you say to people who are like, “Well, I feel like the market’s too saturated, I’m a personal trainer and everyone has their own little workouts that they try and sell. How am I going to be successful at this?”
Shannan: Yeah. So there’s two things I say to that.
The fact that someone else is already doing it is proof you can do it too.
I believe that to the bottom of my heart. If there are other people doing it, and doing it successfully, you can do it too. The second thing I say, most of us don’t really have grand visions for what we want to do. Honestly, most of the people listening would be thrilled to make $100,000 this year working for themselves, right? So work backwards from that. If you want to make $100,000 a year working for yourself selling meal plans, you want to sell meal plans at … or excuse me, let’s say workout programs, I’m doing math right now, hold on guys.
Shannan: So you want to make $100,000 a year, divide by 12 that’s $8,333 per month. Let’s say you want to sell a six week workout program at $149, you need to sell 56 a month. So are there 56 people a month that you can help with a workout program? Oh my gosh, yes, there’s millions of people in the world, there’s so much opportunity. And maybe one of those 56 people already did two other workout programs, but they’re looking for something new to switch it up, right?
Shannan: So I think when you think in terms of, “What do I actually need for my personal success?”, that we don’t need to be … I am such a little fish, I say this all the time, I’m such a little fish. I’m truly, I don’t have a massive brand, I don’t have a massive following, I’m not the most known in the industry, but I run a very successful company that allows me a very comfortable lifestyle, and allows me to help thousands of people create their own financial freedom. So if are truly passionate about helping people to change their lives with their workouts, and you love doing it in a one-on-one gym setting, who are you to not do it to 10 times as many?
Shannan Monson: I mean you probably have 10, 20 clients a month at the gym. Let’s say you could have a business helping twice as many people, maybe four times as much money, and do it on your own schedule? Who are you to say, “Well I’m not good enough, well it’s too saturated,” you know? I think when you’re coming from that place of service, and that place of love, it’s truly, it’s your responsibility to help out more people if you can.
Jess: Yeah, agreed. And to add on to that, what would you say to the people who are like, “Well …” because I have heard this from people who say, “Yeah, but no one’s going to pay me $149 for these six week workouts, because there’s free ones on Pinterest, there’s other people doing it, they have apps, whatever.”
Shannan: Yes they will. People will always pay for you to package things in a way that saves them time. Time is their most valuable resource, so if you can save somebody 100 hours of going through Pinterest and putting together a workout that they don’t even know is going to be successful because they know nothing about sequencing, or how to put together a workout for their personal body type and their goals, I mean think of the thousands of hours that you spent becoming an expert. If you think that somebody can get there in a couple of hours, three, four hours searching on the internet, you’re incredibly wrong, I’m sorry.
Shannan: So [inaudible 00:17:01] fear, but if you can save people time they will always pay you money, and your expertise is invaluable, they’re not going to spend three years becoming a personal trainer and understanding what you understand.
Jess: Yeah, and it’s true. I mean I have YouTube channel with 300-plus videos, and so many of those are tutorials. One in particular is something about Mail Chimp, and I get an email probably once a month, or at least every other month, with someone like, “I saw your tutorial, and I know you walked me through it, but could you just do it for me?”
Shannan Monson: Do it for me.
Jess: And I’m like, “It’s right there, the whole process.” So that is a really good reminder for me all the time, about people just, we want to save time. I don’t want to mess with it, it’s a headache. And especially when you’re searching for workouts on Pinterest, because I have done that before, and it’s like, “Well this one’s weird, I can’t read the graphics on this one, this one has way too many moves, I don’t understand this one,” and like you said, the sequencing, the body type, my goals, this is just a little infographic on Pinterest, it does not have any content to –
Shannan Monson: Well, when you start thinking that way too, “Okay, how much are people willing to pay to save their time?”, you’ll start to see examples of this everywhere. So let’s take meal planning companies, for example. Yes, you can go to a grocery store, you can pick out ingredients, you can pre-portion them, you can make the same meals, or you could order Hello Fresh, have it on your doorstep, it’ll take 20 minutes to make meals. They’re not doing anything, all they’re offering is saving your time, that’s literally all they’re offering is saving you time.
Shannon: Everywhere I look I see this. Yeah, you could call a taxi, or you could ask a friend to give you a ride to the airport, or you could drive to the airport and park, or you can take an Uber, or a Lyft. These companies truly are, they’re not reinventing the wheel, they’re not doing anything insanely new, they’re saving you time. So I truly believe going into the next 10, 20 years, companies that save time will be the most profitable. We’re living in a just constantly changing, quick, fast-paced environment, and all you’ll ever hear from people is, “I just wish I had more time, I wish there were more hours in the day.”
Shannan: You can give them back hours in the day that still give them the results they want, they want to feel really energized, and athletic, and strong in their body, if you can give them that in just 20 minutes a day you’ll always win.
Jess: Yep, yep, yep, I love it, Shannan. Okay. So fast forward, we have created our product, how do we best get this out to the right people? What do you suggest for getting it in front of our niche target market?
Shannan Monson: Yeah, absolutely. So I think it actually goes back to the ideation and creation stage, and it goes back to who is your ideal customer. So a lot of times we think we know who our ideal customer is, but because we aren’t super, super clear on who that person is, and who that person is not, it’s hard to find them. A lot of us struggle, we don’t want to be polarizing, we don’t want to turn away business, so we struggle to actually niche down. But when you’re super clear on who your ideal customer is it’s actually really easy to say, “Okay, where are they hanging out? What Instagram pages are they following? What websites are they spending time on?” And then you can target them.
Shannan: So there’s two types of strategies I recommend for getting in front of the right people, organic and paid. So paid is just kind of amplifying what you’re doing already with the organic. So let’s talk about organic, because I think most people aren’t ready to start implementing a paid ads budget when they’re just starting out.
Shannan: So organic, I’m looking at collaborations are super powerful. So if I know my ideal client eats a paleo diet, loves Whole 30, and does Cross Fit, and I have a meal plan that helps them make their life so much better, and increase their muscle gain or whatever, clearly I’m not a Cross Fitter, I would be looking to connect with as many people that do Whole 30, post about Whole 30, you know if it’s a Whole 30 meal plan who do Cross Fit regularly, as possible.
Shannan: So you can be doing Instagram takeovers on each other’s pages, maybe you don’t have a big following and you don’t think that they’d really be interested in that, but you could provide value to their followers, maybe taking them behind the scenes at a day of eating, and talking about how much protein your eating and why, and really teaching them the why behind your diet, that’s a great opportunity to get in front of a new audience that’s perfectly positioned to buy your offer.
Shannan: So that is really the biggest thing that I look at, I actually think that most people don’t struggle with getting their idea in front of the right people, they think they do. I think most people struggle with coming up with an idea for a very specific person. So once you have that down it’s so easy to know exactly where you need to be spending your time to get in front of people like that.
Jess: Okay. So that’s your homework, go get specific of who you want to help.
Shannan Monson: No but really, where do they shop? Where do they eat? You start answering those questions, do they have kids? Do they not have kids? You start answering those questions and you know actually, exactly what their day is like. You know where they stop for breakfast in the morning, you know where they’re at from nine to five, then it’s really easy to reach out to companies that are embedded, and brands that are already a part of their lifestyle, right? If you know what Instagram stories they’re watching over their lunch break, those are the people you need to be reaching out to to collaborate with.
Jess: Exactly. This has been so informative, thank you so much for coming on today. I would love for you to kind of tell us what you’re working on, where we can connect with you, all that kind of fun stuff.
Shannan: Yeah, thanks for having me, Jess. So I love working with really proven entrepreneurs, who’ve been doing this one-on-one thing for a long time, and they’re ready to scale and really scale their business up to six figures and beyond with passive income products. So if that sounds like you I would love to hear more about your business. I have a completely free guide walking you through my four part framework to create a passive income product that goes in depth about what we talked about today. So if you loved this conversation you’ll absolutely love what’s inside the guide, at ShannonMonson.com/guide. And if that’s something that is interesting to you and you want to learn more, I would love for you to apply to work with me. I have a small group Master Mind that I help entrepreneurs to actually create and launch these passive income products, and I would love to hear more about your business. So go download the guide, ShannonMonson.com/guide, and hop on my Instagram and send me a DM, I would love to just hear more about you and your business. So thanks for listening guys.
Jess: Awesome, and I will put the links to both of those things in the show notes so you guys can grab that. But thank you so much for being here Shannan.
Shannan Monson: Thank you so much.